do loaded minnie balls move

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Texas Gil

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I hunt with my 1861 2 band rifle loaded with 70 grs 3f and I've wondered if the minnie will move away from the powder after carrying it around all day.
Anyone think its a good idea to put a card on top of the bullet?
 
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Yes. Yes, they do move. My last mountain deer hunt a couple years back I was using my Lyman .50 GPH with home poured 370gr Maxi’s. Time came to unload at days end and I discharged my load. No recoil, weird pop and no hole in the target. I believe the cold weather (-27c) shrunk the maxi and it fell out, along with most of the charge.
I’d hunted with this loads lots previously and was very disciplined about checking for movement with none ever showing up. Every previous hunt was in much warmer weather however.
Walk
 

TDM

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Yes. Yes, they do move. My last mountain deer hunt a couple years back I was using my Lyman .50 GPH with home poured 370gr Maxi’s. Time came to unload at days end and I discharged my load. No recoil, weird pop and no hole in the target. I believe the cold weather (-27c) shrunk the maxi and it fell out, along with most of the charge.
I’d hunted with this loads lots previously and was very disciplined about checking for movement with none ever showing up. Every previous hunt was in much warmer weather however.
Walk
There you go, there's always an exception. I guess if your really concerned with movement and moving around a lot, just stop occasionally and check the seating with your ram rod. Then you'll know.
 
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Don’t shoot a minnie, but do shoot a smoothie, when hunting I use a patched ball, but it’s not as tight as a rifle load, so I do check it pretty often. I’ve never found it moved, but like to check anyway.
 

Muddly

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Used to shoot a Lyman 575213OS in my P53 Enfield repop that had a .577 bore. Pretty much ideal fit for a minie btw. Never had one move. I did take pains to keep the muzzle above horizontal though.
I rammed until I felt it hit powder, then pushed until I felt the powder give just a bit. I believe it was filling the base.
Worked well for me.
 

Notchy Bob

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I think it may depend on how you carry your rifle. I have read that 19th century cavalrymen typically carried their carbines muzzle-down. When the Army adopted the Minie system, they did indeed find that the bullets moved, and they were well aware of the consequences.

As discussed in another thread a while back, there are several period paintings showing mountain men and plainsmen with a spare rod carried in the bore of the rifle. I suppose this was a logical, safe place to carry a fragile and necessary bit of equipment, but the rod may have helped keep the ball seated. At the very least, you could judge the position of the ball by the amount the rod protruded, and reseat the ball, if needed, before shooting. When the rod was removed, it could be used as a monopod rest for the rifle. That is documented, too.

I have no personal experience carrying a muzzleloader on horseback. Considering that 19th century military Minie bullets are typically sized very slightly (.001"-.002") under bore size, they could easily drift some if the rifle is carried or jostled with the muzzle down. I would think a patched round ball would fit more snugly and would be less prone to move, although I suppose it would be possible.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 
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I have never come across a Minie ball move ,They are long projectile compared to a ball of the same weight and have more contact with the barrel , the only time I believe it could happen would be in a double rifle , Maxi balls may be a different thing . I do know that the load in the unfired barrel on a double shotgun can move and should be checked before firing .
 
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I hunt with my 1861 2 band rifle loaded with 70 grs 3f and I've wondered if the minnie will move away from the powder after carrying it around all day.
Anyone think its a good idea to put a card on top of the bullet?
Short answer, conicals, both Minie and flat base, have moved on me. Until you have proven different to yourself, assume they will move off the powder.

I had a Cabelas (Investarm) fast twist gun that was deadly at the range with conicals. Unfortunately, the bore seemed to have something like a choke or slight taper in the the bore. You could just about feel it when loading it. And you could actually hear the conicals ‘clunk’ as they moved off the powder up to maybe halfway out the bore and back as you raised and lower the muzzle. This barrel shot patched roundballs fairly well, but I purchased it to shoot conicals. For me, with that gun, paperpatched bullets ultimately became the answer (and my first attempt at paperpatching). Easy to load, and would not move no matter what I did. The current owner still thanks me for selling them the whole setup (the gun, paper, sizing die and mold). Will this work for others? I don’t know. Something everyone would have to test.

As far a card on top of the bullet, I have heard this to be a solution many used to hold a conical in place. Never tried it much myself, but in theory, it should work.
 

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DuncNZ said...

I agree, but with slight differences in the actual size of the bore and load I can certainly believe its happened to some, just never to me. I've never shot mini balls but I've shot and carried plenty of Maxi's. I would venture to say a mini ball would be more likely to move on horseback like Notchy Bob said, or if the gun got banged around. But with a double rifle or shotgun I can see how that could create a problem.
 
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M. De Land

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I hunt with my 1861 2 band rifle loaded with 70 grs 3f and I've wondered if the minnie will move away from the powder after carrying it around all day.
Anyone think its a good idea to put a card on top of the bullet?
I can't say a Minie does but I wouldn't doubt it as they fit the bore the same as a Maxie and I once ringed a barrel from one that worked forward after a day of carry muzzle angled downward. I guess if you checked it periodically with the loading rod you'd be OK.
 

Kev308

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I have hunted with my Zouave for a few years as has my buddy. Neither of us has had a minie move in the bore, even in very cold weather.
If you are concerned about it you can always pull the ramrod and check if the bullet is seated. It would only take a few seconds. If nothing else that would answer your question
 
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A friend of mine used store bought minie balls to hunt with in his TC .54 Renegade. I used maxi balls in my TC .50 Hawken. Where we hunted you could shoot where we parked so when we came out of the woods in the evening we would discharge our rifles. Clean when we got home and reload the next day or hunt. One evening when we got back to the vehicles I fired mine. When Cy fired his there was a big ball of flame from his rifle. He said there was a big recoil and when we looked at the rifle the hammer was back to half cock. Only thing we could figure was when he climbed up into his stand he slung the rifle muzzle down while climbing and the minie ball had slid partway down the barrel. From that day forward he used the ram rod to make sure the round was seated when he got set up in his stand or before firing the rifle. The minie ball diameter must have been a touch too small and not fitting tight enough to the rifling. The TC Renegade was tough as there was no damage to the rifle, shooter or me standing next to him.
 
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I hunt with my 1861 2 band rifle loaded with 70 grs 3f and I've wondered if the minnie will move away from the powder after carrying it around all day.
Anyone think its a good idea to put a card on top of the bullet?
Depends on the size of the bore and the size of the minie. I shot with the North South Skirmish Association for many years. We shot minies in mukset competition. If a minie is way undersized they can slide down the bore without a rammer. What you want to do is mic the bore then mould a minie that is as close yo the bore size as possible. Finally run them through a sizing die. Moose Moulds are good. Check out the NSSA forumm for more info. I would not use a wad on top of a minie. And, always carry muzzle up, at shoulder arms or trail arms.
 
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I have no first hand experience but when Mississippi primitive weapons season meant muzzleloader or archery (now you can use a scoped single shot cartridge rifle) I was talking to the game warden that managed the WMA where I hunted. He said that he was afraid to use anything but round balls because he had checked several hunters over the years and noticed a bullet sitting in the end of the barrel. Don’t know if they had worked their way out or weren’t rammed home during loading. Just passing along someone else’s observations who saw a lot of hunters over the years
 
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In my humble opinion, I think that the key to this question is bullet diameter in relation to bore diameter as mentioned above. Slight variance that adds up to a bullet a bit small for bore certainly seems possible with variances between rifle barrel brands and the various bullet brands/molds. This is also evident in cartridge rifles, particularly older antiques where this issue mainly leads to poor accuracy and leading. Shooters of antique hyphenated cartridge rifles looking for good performance will slug their barrels and buy/mold their bullets to match the barrel bore.
 
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In my humble opinion, I think that the key to this question is bullet diameter in relation to bore diameter as mentioned above. Slight variance that adds up to a bullet a bit small for bore certainly seems possible with variances between rifle barrel brands and the various bullet brands/molds. This is also evident in cartridge rifles, particularly older antiques where this issue mainly leads to poor accuracy and leading. Shooters of antique hyphenated cartridge rifles looking for good performance will slug their barrels and buy/mold their bullets to match the barrel bore.
Exactly. The minie ball diamteter must be wide enough to hold the round in the rifling but still go down the bore easily when loading. The whole purpose of the minie ball was to make loading faster and easier but not to have the round slide back out the barrel. As my firend found out over the counter rounds may be slightly off diameter wise or the a combination of bore diameter and round diameter may not match up. Could get a rifle with a bore that it a little oversize and a round that is a little undersize and now you have a round that rattles down the bore and will not stay seated against the powder. Have to do some experimentation with different rounds to get one that fits right.
 

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